Bangkok, Thailand, Aug 9, 2021 / 18:50 pm (CNA).
The Holy Redeemer Church in Bangkok, together with the Order of Malta, have been providing transport service to COVID-19 patients. / Courtesy of the Holy Redeemer Church in Bangkok
Catholic dioceses and parishes in Thailand, which continues to witness a surge in COVID-19 cases, have been converting church facilities into field hospitals and isolation centers.
The Archdiocese of Bangkok in the financial capital of the Southeast Asian country has turned over to the government a Catholic school that has been converted into a 630-bed field hospital on August 6.
“The more humanity suffers, the more we need love, mercy and sharing,” said Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanich, Archbishop of Bangkok, in a report on Catholic news site LiCAS.
During the turnover ceremony, the cardinal said the pandemic “has brought suffering to all of us,” especially “the poor, those without income, without a job, and those who have lost hope.”
“I believe the Lord Jesus Christ loves these people and wishes that we as his disciples share our love, especially during this time of great suffering,” he added.
For months during the pandemic, the Catholic Church in Thailand has been assisting communities most affected by the health crisis, offering churches and other facilities for use as testing and vaccination centers.
In the capital Bangkok, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, or Redemptorists, partnered with the Order of Malta, in providing transport services to COVID-19 patients.
The congregation’s Church of the Holy Redeemer has been serving as a testing and vaccination center and has been donating medical equipment to provincial hospitals.
The Xaverian missionaries have also distributed food in urban poor communities and have set up what they called as “mercy centers,” especially during the lockdown.
Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanich, Archbishop of Bangkok, turns over the 630-bed isolation facility to Surasak Charoensirichot, governor of Nakorn Pathom province, on Aug. 6, 2021. / Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Bangkok
In the northern part of the country, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate congregation has been distributing food in villages to help people who lost access to supplies.
“We cannot be indifferent toward the suffering of our parishioners and the people in the villages,” said Oblates priest June Ongart, parish priest in the Hmong village of Khek Noi.
“We have to find a way to help those in need, especially the elderly and the children, because they are the most affected,” said the priest.
On Aug. 9, Thailand reported 149 more COVID-19 fatalities and 19,603 new cases over the previous 24 hours.
Since the pandemic started last year, the country has recorded 776,108 COVID-19 cases, with 555,334 recoveries.